Index to Ethics Commission Opinions - 2004
AO-04-07 & 08
Employees who participated in a county fitness program may accept gifts of nominal value from the controlled donor that helped organize the program. §5-106(c)(2)(ii).
Police officers may not engage in secondary employment with or for bingo establishments because bingo is a licensed business that is subject to regulatory oversight by the Police Department.
The Ethics Commission may not give confidential advice to employees, but it also may not identify the person requesting the advice or provide information that would tend to identify the person seeking the advice, unless that information is material to the opinion. Charter, §1001B, Code, §3-103.
A Council member’s proposed participation on a fund raising committee for an entity that regularly appears before the council, while not strictly prohibited, would create the appearance of a conflict of interest. §1-102(a).
An employee may serve on the board of a private organization that has no routine business with that employee’s agency. The employee may not use his/her title, nor may the employee participate in any official matter involving the organization. §§5-107, 5-101(a)(2)(ii).
An employee may not advertise his/her secondary employment while on the county job or to clients of the employee’s agency. §5-107.
An employee may appear before the Board of Appeals in response to a subpoena and may testify as to relevant facts not otherwise obtainable by a party, but may not offer opinion testimony or provide confidential documents in response to the subpoena. §§5-104, 5-108.
A client of an agency is a person “subject to the authority of the employee’s agency” and the employee may not contract with that client. §5-102.
An employee may not contract with that employee’s agency, either directly or through a county-wide contract. An employee may not engage in secondary employment while on county time or in the county work place and may not solicit or contract with any person subject to the employee’ s supervision. §§5-102, 5-107.
An employee who administers a contract between the county and a private entity may enter into a personal contract with that entity but may no longer participate in any official business having to do with the county’s contract with that entity. However, there would be a number of potential conflicts of interest issues that could arise with this type of personal contract. §§5-101(a)(2)(iv) and (vi).
A supervisor may hire as a secretary, a close relative of an administration official, as long as the proper hiring process was followed, but the hiring decision may create the appearance of a conflict of interest, and may in some circumstances lead to other questions of conflict of interest.
Employees of the Sheriff's Department are subject to the State Ethics Law and should direct their inquiries to the State Ethics Commission.
An employee in one county agency may accept part-time secondary employment with another county agency under the circumstances described in the opinion since there would be no apparent conflicts of interest
Employees may accept a dinner as part of an evening seminar sponsored by two different sponsors, one being a controlled donor, when the sponsor paying for the dinner is not the controlled donor, and the benefit accrues to the employees in their official capacity.
A council member may participate in fund raising for the member's own community association, but the member should take steps to ensure that controlled donors are not targeted for fund raising and that people understand that the council member is acting solely in a personal capacity.
A member of the County Council may attend a hearing of the Board of Appeals as a spectator, without violating the rule against the abuse of the prestige of office.
An employee and the employee's spouse may accept an invitation to attend a reception sponsored by a controlled donor, under the circumstances described, as an exception to the gift prohibitions for occasional meals and beverages of modest value, where the value of the gift does not exceed $50 per couple.
An employee may provide information to the employee's community association as long as the information is available to the public, but the employee may not otherwise assist the association in any matter in which the county may have an interest.
A county employee engaged in secondary employment may not contract or participate in any contract with the county on behalf of the secondary employer, and further, may not continue to engage in the secondary employment in the event that the secondary employer and the county negotiate or enter into a contract that involves the employee's agency.
A county employee may not participate in an official capacity in any matter where one of the parties to the matter is an entity with whom the employee has a contract.